The Waldorf Astoria Hotel is synonymous with prestige and lavishness. As a timeless piece of history, this landmark has welcomed kings and queens, stood witness to historic events and rolled out the red carpet for the glitzy and glamorous of each decade.
You may recognize the iconic gold capital letters and grandiose lobbies, but did you know that “the Waldorf” is also responsible for creating some of the most delicious things we love today?
Here are five things we bet you didn’t know the Waldorf created:
You know those deliciously poached eggs over a crisp yet soft English muffin drizzled in Hollandaise sauce that no brunch would be the same without? You can thank the Waldorf for that.
According to an interview recorded in the New Yorker in 1942, a retired Wall Street stock broker named Lemuel Benedict claimed that he had wandered into the Waldorf Astoria hotel in 1894 and ordered “buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon and a hooker of Hollandaise” in hopes of curing his hangover.
Oscar Tschirky, the famous maitre d’hotel of the Waldorf, famously known as “Oscar of the Waldorf”, loved the dish so much that he put it on the menu with a few modifications. He substituted ham for the bacon and a toasted English muffin for the toast and voila! The Eggs Benedict we know and love today.
The Waldorf Salad
Surprised? Probably not. The Waldorf Salad was created somewhere around 1896 at the Waldorf hotel in New York by the same blessed soul that made Eggs Benedict an official dish, Oscar of the Waldorf.
The original recipe for the salad called for fresh apples, celery and walnuts, dressed up in mayonnaise on a bed of lettuce. The dish has taken many forms since, with additions such as grapes, chicken, dried fruit and more.
Red Velvet Cake
Next time you take a bite out of a rich, succulent red velvet cake, you can thank the Waldorf. This legendary dessert was created at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City during the 1920s.
The cake was inspired by the velvety textures of Victorian cakes. In an attempt to create an intense color and unique flavor, beetroot extracts, or juices, were added, resulting in the famous bold red color the dessert is known by.
Thousand Island Dressing
There are a thousand stories behind the origin of this dressing, but one story rings the loudest: George Boldt, owner of the Waldorf, used to travel to the Thousand Island region between the U.S. and Canada.
During one of his trips, he asked his chef (rumored to be Oscar), to prepare salad dressing. Having little access to his normal ingredients, the chef prepared this dressing with the ingredients he could find in the area. Mr. Boldt loved the dressing so much, he started serving it in his hotels in 1894.
This famous drink was originally called the “Waldorf Astoria Cocktail” when it was created in the 1890s at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. It is believed to have been named in honor of a guest from New Orleans, Mr. Martinez, who suggested the drink to the bartender.
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